Meet the Snelson Fund awardees from Spring 2024

Seven young ecumenists have been awarded grants by The Bill Snelson Young Ecumenists Fund.

We are delighted to introduce Dan, Tenny, Shilpita, Isaiah, Ellmina, Joseph and Jack who have all been awarded grants from The Bill Snelson Young Ecumenists Fund to enable them to have ecumenical experiences beyond England.

Dan Tarrant

Dan is based in Sheffield where he’s been learning more about the modern monasticism of the House of Prayer (part of the 24/7 movement). He’s been invited to join their international conference in the Netherlands. 

He said: “For me the grant is will give me an opportunity to learn from people around the world about how they engage in prayer and practice their faith. There are so many expressions, techniques and practices and this conference is a chance to learn more about the depth of God’s heart for humanity.”

Tenny Antony

Tenny is in the process of training to be a Catholic priest at a seminary in Birmingham. He plans to take a summer course at Rome’s Centro Pro Unione, which will offer a historical and theological overview of the issues that divide Christians as well as the bonds that unite them.

He said: “The grant will provide necessary financial support to attend the summer course, which will allow me to initiate and maintain dialogue with other faiths and broaden my worldview by gaining further insight on how to develop, at the local level, dialogue in the areas of ecumenism and interfaith.”

Shilpita Mathews

Shilpita is a Trustee of Operation Noah and a member of the Young Christian Climate Network. She plans to attend the Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network (LWCCN) Global Creation Care Forum in South Korea in September 2024.

She said “Environmental action is an incredible space for ecumenical collaboration. This forum will plan for the next 10 years of Creation Care work globally, a critical window of opportunity to ensure we meet net-zero targets. I am passionate about continued unity amongst evangelicals, a community where climate action is increasingly becoming a partisan and divisive issue. I hope to collaborate with and learn from campaigners from the global South and integrate non-Western eco-theologies into my faith.

Isaiah Morris

Isaiah is a Master’s theology student with a Pentecostal background who now attends a charismatic evangelical Anglican church. He plans to visit the Casa Balthasar in Rome and the Vatican City. He intends to explore the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar to inform his current research on von Balthasar’s theological aesthetics from a Pentecostal perspective.  

Isaiah said: “I desire to help foster unity amidst the church, celebrating the beautiful distinctiveness and particularity of expressions through intentional friendships and scholarship. I’m thankful to CTE for making this experience possible.”

Ellmina Mckenzie

Ellmina is based in Wolverhampton and is part of the New Testament Church of God Emerging Ministers Forum. She’s also involved in Love Black Country which is a relational network of Christians, churches, organisations and businesses across that region.

Ellmina plans to take the Anglicanism in European Perspective short course at the University of Utrecht this summer.

She said: “The rich theological component of this course, will improve my understanding of historic Christian traditions throughout the centuries, which will be invaluable to my Church ministry, including in my role as an adult Sunday School teacher.” 

Joseph Nelson

Joseph is a Lutheran pastor. He is the Lutheran Chaplain for the Universities of Leeds and is the Chair of Churches Together in Headingley.

The grant will allow him to attend this year’s Anglican-Lutheran Society Conference in Edinburgh. The conference will examine the relationship between Church and State in a variety of Anglican and Lutheran Contexts.

Joseph said: “The relationship between churches and the State is constantly evolving, especially as Western countries continue to become simultaneously more secular and more pluralist. The place of an ongoing religious voice in the public forum is highly significant, and to explore this with colleagues from three different traditions – Lutherans, Anglicans, and Presbyterians – is exciting and will be beneficial to my own ministry in an ecumenical context.”

Jack Woodruff

Jack Woodruff is a mathematician and Methodist based in the North of England. He is a member of the Iona Community Young Adults Group as well as a trustee of the Iona Community and the Inclusive Church Network.

Jack has already completed his ecumenical experience abroad. He went to the gathering of the European branches of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Granada in April 2024.

He said “In a time of increased awareness around conflict and violence in the world, it felt important to gather with like-minded advocates of nonviolence and learn from each other.

“This grant allowed me to attend the conference and learn about ecumenical peace work happening across Europe.  Receiving this grant will also made it financially possible for me to travel to Granada by train and to thus reduce the environmental impact of my travel.”

The Bill Snelson Young Ecumenists Fund was launched in October 2023 by Churches Together in England and the Snelson family. It is in memory of Bill Snelson, a dedicated ecumenist, who was General Secretary of Churches Together England from 1997 to 2008. Grants from the Fund allow young adults to experience ecumenism abroad. That experience can be study, pilgrimage, volunteering or any activity that promotes church unity.

Read the experiences of other young Christians who have received grants from The Bill Snelson Young Ecumenists Fund.

Download a brief guide to The Bill Snelson Young Ecumenists Fund and how to apply.